Enyimba plead for release of kidnapped Dayo Ojo
• NFF worried by deaths, kidnappings in Nigerian football
Nigerian champions, Enyimba of Aba have pleaded with kidnappers of their striker, Ekundayo Ojo to release the star, who was abducted by gunmen along the Benin-Owo Expressway.
According to Enyimba, the incident occurred on Sunday as the player journeyed to Akure to observe a break following the suspension of the Nigeria Professional Football League amid concerns over the global pandemic, Covid-19.
Ojo, his teammate, Emmanuel James and Benjamin Iluyomade of Abia Comets, were travelling in the same vehicle when the kidnappers struck. While James escaped the attack, Iluyomade was captured alongside Ojo.
The clubs said they were in close contact with Ojo’s family, adding that efforts were already in place to ensure the player’s release from his abductors.
“At this time, and considering the sensitivity of the incident, Enyimba Football Club wishes to call on members of the media to refrain from reports or speculations capable of jeopardising the player’s safety.
“Ojo’s family also wishes to appeal for privacy while enjoining the general public to pray for the safety and freedom of the player,” the club said in a statement.
Reacting to the incident, Ondo State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Tee-Leo Ikoro, confirmed the incident and said the police were already on the trail of the hoodlums to secure the release of the victims.
He also disclosed that the men of the state police command have rescued one of the players, but he did not reveal the identity of the rescued player.
“We have been able to rescue one of the players and our men are already in the bush after the kidnappers. I will get the details of incident as soon as I get the information from the DPO of Ipele Owo,” the police spokesman stated.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has called on all members of the country’s football family to pray hard in view of recent deaths and kidnappings of football players, which have caused serious concern in the polity.
NFF President, Amaju Melvin Pinnick said the deaths of three footballers in a horrendous auto crash along Benin-Agbor Road on Sunday, among them Rangers International FC star forward Ifeanyi George, and the kidnappings of Enyimba FC’s Dayo Ojo and Abia Comets’ Benjamin Iluyomade in Ondo State some hours later were huge causes for concern in Nigeria’s football firmament.
“These sorrowful incidents are becoming too much for us to bear. We must seek spiritual solace and seek help from Almighty God. I am short of words following these deaths and kidnappings. We must all get involved in prayers to Him to stop the tap of grief and sorrow in our football sector.
“I am heartbroken. Not long ago, we lost Tiamiyu Kazeem of Remo Stars Football Club and Chineme Martins of Nasarawa United in different circumstances. We need to call on God to show us mercy and stop these unfortunate happenings,” the NFF said in a statement.
“We also earnestly appeal to the kidnappers of Dayo and Benjamin to release them unhurt to their families. We are going through too much at the same time, with the coronavirus pandemic also around. We need serious prayers from everyone in the football family,” Pinnick added.